A snowmobile trailer is just like every other snowmobile
Well, not exactly. Sure, they have some things in common,
like they haul snowmobiles and they have tires, but even we were mildly surprised
at the differences between one trailer versus another.
We came to this realization after touring three trailer
manufacturers this past summer. We were allowed to watch the manufacturing
process from start to finish, although we were able to move much faster than
the trailers being built.
Each manufacturer has its own little processes that make it
different from the next guy. Some of those processes we snowmobilers just take
for granted but are a nice touch nonetheless. And seeing the build process
gives us a little better appreciation for our trailers.
Of course, by going through during the summer, we didn't
catch any snowmobile trailers being manufactured but the process is very
We were also allowed to take photos pretty much throughout
each of the plants we toured. That allows us to give you a visual look at the
building of a trailer.
Our Summer Trailer Tour started with Pace American and then
Wells Cargo, both in Utah and finished with
Featherlite in Iowa.
Here's a little background information on the plants we toured.
Pace American's Hurricane, UT, plant is one of four
nationwide and supplies most western states, including California, Arizona,
Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming, as well as
Alberta and British Columbia. Pace American's Utah plant opened in April, 1994, and,
according to plant general manager Ray Salley, business at that plant has
quadrupled since it opened and the number of employees doubled.
We asked Salley what he thought the biggest change has been
in the trailer industry over the past 5-10 years. He said, "Getting more in
tune with our customer's needs. The manufacturing process has changed much over
those years, but it has been refined. It's still a labor-intensive process.
It's not a sexy industry. It's good ol' American ingenuity. There are no robots
out there doing the work. The trailers are handcrafted."
We toured Wells Cargo's Ogden, UT,
plant, where nearly 200 workers are employed. The plant opened in 1982 and
supplies much of the West, from Colorado north
into Canada and everything
west of that, including northern California
The Ogden plant
is just one of six Wells Cargo has across the country.
Featherlite's sprawling manufacturing complex is located in
the northeast Iowa town of Cresco. While most sledders know Featherlite
for its snowmobile trailers, the company is also well known for its horse
trailers and large transporter trailers that you see at all sorts of races from
motocross to snocross to NHRA and more.